Our last reading this week is from Hebrews 5:1-5
The writer to the Hebrews lays a foundation as he begins this chapter looking at typical priests, the Levitical priesthood. We can be assured of this foundation, as it is established in
the Scripture, the Torah, the books pertaining to the law. It is through these books of the law that a framework is given to us in order that we can understand greater revelation i.e. The person and work of Messiah Yeshua. We have to understand the law in two ways:
1. They are Biblical commandments.
2. The law is also made up of accounts/stories/history/events being shared with us – individuals and families and happenings which took place.
The Old Testament gives us, so to speak, the proper lenses for understanding the New Testament.
v1: Taken from among men: The high priests and Messiah have something in common – they are all fully men. However, the former high priests had a shortage with their humanity. Messiah was fully man but also divine. We are therefore recipients of a better priesthood. Messiah is able to bring about eternal outcomes for us.
- Appointed for men: The high priests served on behalf of men.
- In things pertaining to G-d: For service unto G-d. All priests have this in common – they have a particular service to perform. The priority of the priestly ministry/service is to deal with the problem of sin. The work done by the priests from the tribe of Levi was insufficient – it did not have eternal implications. G-d appointed these high priests to show us a pattern of that which was to come – helping us to better understand the work and ministry of Messiah, our Great High Priest.
v2: He can have compassion: The high priests were human and could understand the frailties of other humans. They could show compassion because they also struggled with sin.
- Those who are ignorant: In Leviticus 4 it talks about sins that are unintentional. These are sins committed “ignorantly“, as it was not known that such behavior was a violation. There are consequences for sin – whether with or without intent we disobey the Word of G-d.
- Going astray: This is sinning with deceit, intentional sinning – there was a conviction that what they were about to do was wrong. Because we are frail and carnal beings, we sometimes rebel against G-d and there are implications/consequences for this. The priests knew that someone could sin unintentionally. The punishment for willful sin was usually greater than the punishment received for unintentional sins.
v3: There is a problem with sin. The high priest sinned, just like the people sinned. He had to make atonement, by offering up sacrifices, for his own sin before he could make atonement for the sins of the people (Lev 16:11-16) The offerings that these high priests offered were not eternally sufficient and had to be done daily, yearly. They could only bring about a covering of sin (an atonement) and stay G-d’s judgement for just one more year – until the next Day of Atonement. The sacrifice offered by Messiah, as we are going to see, was superior. He did not just cover up the sin to keep G-d’s judgement at a distance (atonement), he removed it altogether so that it does not remain (this is called propitiation). His work is sufficient for eternity. This cannot be changed or altered by anyone, because there is a supernatural power to it that a regular high priest could not bring about.
v4: No man takes this honor to himself: They did not volunteer or apply for this position. The foundation for the high priests was Aaron – he was the first one. He did not volunteer – in fact, he knew nothing of a priesthood.
- He… is called by G-d: Through divine revelation, G-d called Aaron, just as He called others into this position.
v5: So also: In the same way (the paradigm was for the priesthood to be called by G-d, so also was Messiah called by G-d – Messiah did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who spoke to Him).
- You are My Son, Today I have begotten You: Messiah did not choose to be the High Priest, but the Word of G-d confirmed him (see explanation of Heb 1:5). Yeshua served His Father for the purpose of dealing with sin – every priest dealt with sin.
- Today: Biblically this speaks of opportunity. There is an opportunity for us to respond to what G-d is revealing – That Yeshua is His Son.